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Been a while

Sorry for being mia. Time gets away from me easily.

This past week or two (not totally sure on the duration) have been a struggle. I’m triggered on so many fronts, but at the same time, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what they are… I know some is related to the anniversary of my last major self-harming incident 8 years ago; Some is related to G being in the state; some is probably related to my monthly hormone cycle.

I’ve refrained from taking pain meds this past week in an effort to ground into my current body. If I’m feeling and noticing the immediate pain in my arms & legs, I’m not lost in the flashbacks… At least, that’s the theory I’m going by. It’s not really panning out that way, but whatever. I’m not cutting, so, progress maintained.

The flashbacks are a mix of that time frame when I was cutting uncontrollably, and the more distant past of abuse. There’s other stuff I know I talked to Dr C about, but I can’t remember what that was just now.

I’m super dissociative, stirred-up, and generally lost. I finally was able to be a hair more open with L about it (she asked if i was ok because I’ve been listening to a lot of music these last few days; if my phone’s not playing out loud, i have headphones in. I generally only do this when struggling). I was able to acknowledge it when she asked, but I’m having trouble qualifying it… It’s a bit easier when I write, but even that’s a struggle. My head has been very foggy and fragmented lately. I forget what I’m doing a few seconds into starting it. Art has been somewhat helpful for concentration. Been making little things to sell at an upcoming holiday craft fair. We have a 2.5 month lead-time, so hopefully inventory will be good for it.

Anyway… Yeah. Trigger-y & flashback-y of late. Trying to find balance. Struggling to express stuff, even in therapy. Lots of brain farts…

Super exhausted all of a sudden, so gonna sign off and nap for a bit before L comes home on her break. Gotta remember to wish the peanut happy birthday today while L is home… Someone remind me about that?

K, nap time.


Obsessions…

Does anyone else struggle with obsession?

Mine is rooted in “getting it right” so I don’t get in trouble, but… It often does more harm than good. Even things I enjoy become a chore because the obsession has me doing it well past burnout.

A friend tried to motivate me to to get into doing something from home as a means of income. She suggested that energy and success will come from putting effort into whatever it is I want to grow [as a business]. She is convinced that if I just change my mindset around not having energy or motivation, I’ll succeed at whatever it is I choose to do. I couldn’t explain to her that 1) I don’t have the energy to front to that right now 2) I might get energized in the moment doing some things (like my art, or going hiking, or to the beach to look for seaglass), but then I end up crashing & recovering for days afterwards, and 3) my obsession will inevitably kick in, forcing me to stay up late & wake up early to work on whatever it is I’m doing. I’ll do it to the exclusion of everything else because I need to get it right or I’ve failed miserably at everything including life. Despite seeing the intensity and flaws of that thinking, I’m not able to interrupt the obsession on my own yet…

Speaking of doing things obsessively, I love to go to the beach to look for seaglass and other interesting things. Once the idea is sparked, the only thing that stops me from going is being physically unable to go (no transportation, being in so much pain I can’t do anything at all…), or conflicting appointments that cannot be changed. The friend who got me into it text me last night about going today. I said yes… Only problem is, every fiber in my body hurts from exertion this past week. I should probably stay home and chill, but I can’t bring myself to say no. I must go, or something bad will happen. When I get there, I know I will methodically search the beach looking for what interests me. It takes me hours, and I end up in more pain. I know this will happen, but I still can’t bring myself to refuse. Just the thought of declining the invite brings on a whole host of anxiety and self-deprication; everything from my friend being mad at me for declining (she wouldn’t be, but my brain insists she will) to being mad at myself for not pushing through crap & for wimping out on an adventure that might get me out of my head for a while.

It’s so beyond just enjoying whatever it is I’m trying to do… I know I’m doing it to my detriment at times, but I still can’t refuse…

I have therapy before heading out seaglassing. Maybe this can be something we address (though I know there was something else I had really wanted to talk to her about, but I can’t remember what that was at the moment.


Clean up, aisle 4…

Group was really triggering again this week, though I think it was that way for everyone (there was a text exchange afterwards, which usually doesn’t happen. We only use the group texting to determine attendance).
Anyway, I feel like a turd because I took my triggered anxiety and unease out on my wife this afternoon. It wasn’t a horrible fight, but we were both cranky, so we both snapped at each other. We’ve talked and cleared the air since but… I feel bad.
On top of that, I’m still on edge from group. If I stop bombarding myself with stimuli, the flashbacks pick right up again.
I dunno. There’s so much going on internally, and stressors from outside keep piling on too. It’s all starting to feel overwhelming.
The teenager is wicked pissed with my therapist for challenging so much lately, and for seeming to change her contact policy without warning. The kids are scared about getting in trouble, & about having her mad at us… the adult sides are the only ones that seem to be dealing ok with her lack of responses, but they’ve also retreated into the basement so they don’t have to deal with the attitudes…
I’m having a lot of trouble finding internal balance…


Anxiety is high again

… And it’s from the weirdest trigger.

A local grocery store chain”s workers are on strike. It’s day 10 or 11 now. I have no direct investment in the outcome of the strike. People I know do, but I do not. L worked there briefly earlier this year, but left since the work was too much for her (physically, and with the added hours on top of her other 2 jobs)…

For some reason, the strike, specifically the support of the workers as we drive by, and even just seeing the striking workers, skyrockets my anxiety. I can’t talk about it with people. I can’t drive by where they are (I’ve started switching my driving routes to completely avoid the plazas). I can’t hear about it…

I become terrified. My chest starts to hurt, my mind races, and I panic that I’m going to get in really big trouble. It takes me a really long time to calm down once the panic starts, and it takes very little time to trigger the full panic.

I have no idea why it causes this. Over a week of intense anxiety, and all I’ve come up with is that I’m afraid of getting in deep, deep trouble…

One of the ladies in my group is personally effected by it. This past week, we spent a good 20-30 minutes on it in group. It was all I could do to not bolt from the room. I didn’t feel I had any right asking them to stop because her daily life is effected by it, and I’m only made anxious by the concept of it…

I guess it was kinda good that I let the anxiety build more (though I did start to mentally check out), because I started to feel the rumblings of flashbacks trying to break through. It made me want to cut my arms and legs, and cry, and hide… The flashbacks never came though, so I’m still stumped. At least I know there’s something specific there. I have no idea what, but it’s something rather than the seeming nothing it had been prior to group.

I started to text Dr C. about it, but she stopped responding. I’m guessing she got busy and distracted with other things… She didn’t directly say that we will talk about it another time, or tell me to stop texting, but she wasn’t engaging in the exchange, so… Not gonna bother her outside of session with it. It’s time I started learning to leave her alone outside of the office anyway. She’s getting older, and closer to retirement. I’m gonna have to find another therapist at some point, and I doubt they will tolerate between session contact… Not looking forward to having to find someone again. It’s been so difficult to find a good therapist who I can work with… Maybe I just won’t need one by the time she fully retires…

Here’s hoping.


Conversations with myself

In group on Thursday, we talked about things we do before going to sleep; what’s helpful, what’s not, and other things that keep us awake.

One woman brought up replaying instances where she needed to stand up for herself, times she wished she had handled things differently, or practicing for upcoming conversations she would have that might be uncomfortable.

That topic brought up something that I’ve been [doing? experiencing?…] in the last several months, and I’m not quite sure what to make of it, though I haven’t given it too much thought till I was reminded of it in group: dialogues that start as rehashing experiences, but that divert into more of something along the lines of listening to a tv show playing in the background.

I start out in control and participating in the dialogue, but somewhere along the way, it becomes something I simply listen to. It’s not necessarily related to the topic or experience I was rehashing in my head originally, thought branches off from there. I would say it’s me falling into dreamland, but my eyes are open half the time, and I’m still doing my bedtime routine…

It kinda reminds me of the time I’d get into a zone, and just write fiction. It’s really similar to the feeling of disconnect from the stories I’d put to paper, and it’s definitely not memories or current events… I similarly forget the details and most of the topics once out of “the zone”. I’m guessing if I’d written it down, it would be one of those things I reread over and over again as if it were new to me at each reading…

It’s such a weird experience, and not weird at the same time.

I’ve been trying to figure out if it’s hallucinations, or dreams, or something else. Sometimes I worry it might be hallucinations, which would be really scary, coz that would mean there’s something wrong. I have no history of non-drug-induced hallucinations, so them starting this late in the game means problems… And then I feel like I might be developing some hypochondriac tendencies, coz none of the testing thus far has revealed anything, which means there can’t be anything actually wrong or they would have found it by now… Right?

Someone please convince my brain to stop messing with me…


Disconnect (dissociation?)

Still feeling so disconnected from any part of the past… It almost feels like “living in the present” taken to an extreme level; nothing from the past holds connection right now.

The furthest I feel connected to is maybe this weekend, but even that’s sketchy.

I don’t know… Hope it resolves in short order.


Inappropriate?

I’m struggling a bit with understanding if the physical therapist I saw today was inappropriate with his comments. L says he definitely was, as his comments were very devaluing.

I was telling him about my bad days since this whole muscle thing started (basically, load up on pain meds, and veg on the couch because I physically cannot do anything else). He said something along the lines of “Netflix and bon bons… So you’re basically the person I’ve been making fun of all this time”. He kinda laughed as he said it, and it wasn’t in a mean tone. I was a bit taken aback by it, but tried to roll with the “teasing”. He seemed to be joking with everyone in the office as we were walking back, so I assumed he was just being goofy.

Prior to that, he also commented “so you’re scared” at one point when he was reading my paperwork. When I looked at him confused, he elaborated that he saw I wanted to be told everything he was going to do before doing it… At this point, if he hadn’t been giving me negative vibes, I probably would have disclosed my PTSD, and maybe given him some cursory info, but… I wasn’t consciously sure why I didn’t offer more info, I just didn’t. In hindsight (and after several hours of processing the encounter in my head), I’m glad I didn’t disclose anything beyond what he immediately needed to know for the PT.

At another point in history-taking, I was explaining my anxiety and agoraphobia since this muscle thing happened, and he commented “how’d you ever find anyone to marry you with all this anxiety & not going out?”

There were other things that bothered me also, like his distinct lack of personal space. I’ve been to physical therapy before, and I’ve not had any of the PT’s sit so close while doing the initial assessment. At one point, he rolled his chair right up to mine, and basically blocked me from moving when his legs touched my knees. I pushed my chair back, and to his credit, he moved away and to the side with his, but that didn’t last long. Within a few minutes, we were back in that position. He was a hair further away the second time, but it still made me really uncomfortable. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t move away again.

He seems to know what he is doing in terms of the physical therapy (maybe?), But he either has no filter, doesn’t understand social norms, or just doesn’t care…

I told L about my interactions, and she was able to label it as devaluing and inappropriate (I had simply presented it as being uneasy about the guy, but not being sure if I was taking things harder in light of my history). She was mad enough that she wanted to call the office and get me either switched to another PT, or to switch offices completely. Unfortunately, the office was closing by the time she decided this, so we tabled it for another day. I suggested I return for my Monday appointment & see if that was just a fluke. If he still makes me uneasy, then I’d either confront him about it (unlikely, as I suck at confrontation, but big dreams of standing up for myself), or cancel my other appointments with him and ask to switch PT’s and/or offices…

Part of me still thinks he was just kidding around and being a jerk, but then, that’s not his place as a new-to-me medical professional… Sure, I joke and kid with people, but not in that way, and not with people I’m not more familiar with…

:Sigh:

I don’t want to get him fired or anything. I don’t want him in trouble, but I don’t really want to work with him either. I keep going back to feeling like I’m just taking things the wrong way, that I shouldn’t be bothered by these interactions, but… I am.

Ugh! I have bring so unsure of everything. L is sure, why can’t I trust her insight?? I keep thinking maybe I presented it to her in a biased way… I’m probably just overreacting. It’s probably nothing, and I’m just attributing meaning that isn’t there…


Arthritis…

The MRI my PCP ordered came back showing advanced arthritis in my neck (and likely back also, since it gets worse the further down my neck you look).

It’s apparently from overuse… And I have the neck of someone twice my age.

She said it can explain some of my symptoms, mostly the tingling & pain in my left arm, but not the vertigo, confusion, memory issues, shortness of breath…

There’s nothing else there though; no disc erosion, no herniated discs… That’s a relief.

Now, off to PT to see if I can learn stretches and strengthening exercises, and also help this most recent round of vertigo that hasn’t subsided in going on 3 weeks.


Buzzing

My brain feels all “zappy” and twitchy today.

My body definitely dislikes gabapentin.

I can’t wait for all these side effects to be done with…


Freaking out: meds or ptsd?

Started taking gabapentin for fibromyalgia, and it’s triggered flashbacks (tried it as a psych med many years ago during several stints inpatient). I’m having trouble grounding from feeling out of control and scared… I text Dr. C a bit, but… I dunno. I can’t shake the feeling of being helpless in this situation, and having no choice in whether or not I take this med (though I know I totally have a choice, and could stop anytime I want to; no one is forcing me or threatening me about it this time). Part of me is still shaking in a corner, waiting to be hospitalized if I don’t want it…
I dunno. I’m not sure it’s worth this panic. The pot does reasonably well with the pain, so maybe I just need to stick with that? Maybe now that the neurologist says this is likely fibro, maybe I just need to learn to live with it with the meds I currently have?

I’m totally freaking out on this gabapentin. I want to self-destruct in so many ways, and I’m not sure if it’s the meds or ptsd.

Neurologist said to give it till Monday…


Some progress on the physical stuff (or, at least a direction to look in)

Saw the pcp on Tuesday.

L had the idea to make a comprehensive list of all the symptoms that have come up in the past year or so. It helped tremendously! We were able to give it to Dr. S, and she was able to get a better picture of things. She’s thinking that a lot of it can be related to a potential cervical vertebrae problem; we just have to figure out imaging. I have a chest piercing that had the radiology nurse really uncomfortable last time, enough that she said they would refuse to do further imaging from the waste up unless I had it removed… that would take a surgical procedure, and I’m just not interested in losing it forever if I can find another center that will do the imaging… so I’m waiting to hear back from her office about the next steps around that.

She’s also going to set up a referal for a second opinion on the neurology side of things, but I have to send her a copy of the neuropsych report so she can include it in the referral. I have that pulled together, just need to make it out to the post office to mail it.

I really hope something is figured out around this, and I hope there’s an easy, painless, non-invasive fix for it…

In the mean time, we are trying meloxicam for the pain… I took the first dose tonight, and I’m wired. The first 2 hours after I took it, I felt hyper, as if I’d taken an upper. I hope, if that’s one of the ways my body reacts to it, that it goes away soon. It actually helped the pain for those two hours, but it wore off quickly… it was the lowest dose though, so maybe a higher dose will help longer? I dunno, but it was nice to feel pain-free for those 2 hours or so.

So, we’re have some other things to look into. Hopefully one of them will yield answers.


Hypersensitivity to smells (gonna whine now, feel free to skip reading this)

Back in November-ish, smells started to bug me. I’m not pregnant; I’m 100% sure of that, but strong (and many food) smells turn my stomach.

I mentioned it to my doctor, and she suggested I contact a local taste and smell clinic. They have a long wait, and I just sent out my paperwork yesterday, but I’m hoping they can give me some answers.

The hypersensitivity to smells is just one more thing that seems to be piling on to my list of weird symptoms that come along with the muscular pain.

While I’m waiting to hear back from the clinic, I’m struggling to get through the day dealing with most smells making me very uncomfortable. I’m hyper aware of the smokers in the building, I can’t stand the smell of cooking food… it’s so uncomfortable, I find myself wanting to cry (well, that & the muscle pain/cramps). Mint is a tolerable smell, so I’ve gotten into the habit of dabbing mentholatum rub under my nose to curb the nausea…

I dunno… the clinic’s website says they generally can only help about 1/3rd of the people they assess. I hope I fall into that 33%; I don’t want to have to live with this hypersensitivity (though my mom also has a similar intolerance for smells. She developed it in adulthood…)

I’m so tired and run down. Triggers around loss abound, and it’s not helping anything at all. A friend’s 6-year-old daughter died unexpectedly Sunday morning (in her sleep, cause as yet unknown, though she had several serious medical issues), it’s coming up on the anniversary of Chow’s death, my brothers in law’s dog passed away the same day I felt like someone died, but couldn’t think of any anniversary… and my 40th birthday is around the corner. I don’t feel 40. I don’t want to be 40. I shouldn’t have ever lived this long… Dr. C suggested that maybe this dread of age is rooted in past experiences (especially since it’s paired with the feeling that someone’s passed away)… it kinda makes sense… doesn’t matter though, since she’s now off for 2.5 weeks in the tropics, so I can’t really process that with her beyond Monday’s brief conversation.

I guess I have a fair amount of reasons to cry, but it still feels unwarranted… I’m just so tired.

The depression hit super hard a week ago Monday, and very suddenly; it felt like a switch was flicked. The intense depression hit, the muscle cramps and pain started, that bitter taste came back (it colors everything I eat or drink)… the smell thing is just intensifying… it’s all so oppressive…

So yeah, whining…


worthlessness

More questions for y’all:

How do you overcome worthlessness? If you’ve always felt like you had miles extra to make you worth basic human considerations, how do you inch up that gargantuan ladder?

Intrinsic worthlessness has been a topic of conversation lately, in both therapy, and the rest of my life.

The biggest obstacle I’m hitting is my lack of ability to make any part of this service dog thing happen. Every time I get even a hint of savings towards a prospect, something comes along to wipe it out. At this rate, I’ll be dead before I have enough money for an appropriate pure-bred prospect… and I’m not sure I’ll have the energy to follow through on the level of training needed for a successful and bomb-proof service dog.

My inability to save makes me second guess if I’d really actually benefit from one enough to put in this much effort. I only have so much energy, and mine’s fast running out. The holidays have been a huge drain this year. I barely have enough energy to be politely social with people, forget trying to figure out how to make a service dog work.

So, yeah. How do you overcome intrinsic worthlessness? How do you trick yourself into being ok with having needs, or asking for something, or feeling ok with extra effort to make something work?


Insomnia

That fear of going to sleep is back. It’s not debilitating, but it’s making it difficulty to get rest.

It’s not really connected to anything in the present, I’m just anxious and uncomfortable about going to sleep, even of I’m exhausted.

I used to be ok if i stayed on the couch, but lately it’s there too. I suddenly don’t like night time, though I’m paradoxically most comfortable in the dark (or, part of me is because even as I write that, it doesn’t totally ring true. Part of me has always been uncomfortable with the dark hours, but part of me feels most comfortable there… it’s so confusing sometimes).

Anyway, I’m nervous about going to sleep. I’m nervous about the nighttime… and I’m out of the mj that helps me sleep, so there really isn’t relief.

I’m exhausted, but I’m afraid to sleep. Even of I get sleep, I don’t feel rested, but i also feel the need to keep going. I’m having trouble just sitting still, or just being. I need to be occupied. I need to have my mind focusing on something else. I need to avoid thinking and feeling at all costs… it feels like I’m running from something, but again, I’m not quite sure what.


dumb question…

can you have flashbacks of non- trauma memories?

Or, at least I don’t think that bit was traumatic…

It happened at mil’s house tonight, both the kids were doing their homework. Our great niece kept doing anything but reading, and MeeMa kept telling her to “read [her] book”. For a few seconds, I was a kid, hearing that same phrase while doing homework… it was my aunt saying it? Or maybe my mom? I’m not really sure, but it was an adult female in the family and it wasn’t bitch… Or maybe it was?

It was so strong in the moment that it happened, but it’s mostly faded now.

I did recall feeling uncomfortable, like i was waiting for more fighting, but… it was such a weird moment… and it wasn’t a flashback directly to a domestic violence moment (the only kinds that come with visuals and sound for me. The sa memories are 90% physical with only the vaguest sense of what the situation actually was)…

I dunno… it felt so real though, and it’s so dissolved now…


That escalated quickly (in a good way)

So, I’ve been half-heartedly researching the idea of acquiring a service dog for years now. I think having one would be a good idea, especially with my current physical crap.

So, I casually threw a request out on fb yesterday, mostly asking basics like if anyone had leads on reputable organizations that train for mobility/assistance work & ptsd/psychiatric work.

A trainer friend responded.

We got to talking about what I was looking for in an s. d., thoughts on training my own, and where to look for prospects.

Before I knew it, we had a plan mostly together to find me a dog and begin training.

I didn’t exactly expect to move this fast, but the idea of having support and assistance in the form of a dog is relieving.

I really dislike bugging people for things. Having a trained service dog will mean I don’t have to make sure someone is with me to carry things, or to help open doors when I get fatigued, or to help me ground from flashbacks.

This is awesome! (Intimidating also, because I worry about my ability to be consistent, but my friend said she’ll be there to help)…

Now, to round up the cash for the dog, vet bills, and training…

Another friend has been bugging me to make her some play therapy figurines. She’s taking this opportunity to get me to follow through. She offered to cut me in on profits of any of the pieces I make to help raise money for this venture.

I’m also thinking of doing some smaller pieces of art to sell as a way to raise more money.

I seriouslly dislike the concept of handouts (it always feels like there are strings attached), so selling stuff to make cash will be a way of avoiding having to ask people to give me money…

Now, to figure out what to try to sell for a fundraiser. Thoughts?


more stupid triggers

I had a neoropsych assessment last week in hopes that it help point us in a direction for this weird physical stuff I’m experiencing.

During the assessment, the psychologist was flipping pages in a booklet, showing me pictures of stuff I needed to try to remember. At one point, I stated losing track of what the pictures were, and started focusing on her hand turning the pages, and what the paper sounded like. It wasn’t really a conscious thing, just my attention switching. The sound of the pages turning became the loudest thing in my head, and I couldn’t see anything but her hand. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was enough to trigger something. I started feeling body stuff in the middle of this test that shouldn’t be triggering or disturbing… She caught on that something was up, and I told her that her turning the pages were triggering for some reason I couldn’t pinpoint (and still really can’t). She continued with the testing, but let me turn the pages from then on.

It’s seriously the stupidest little things that hit me out of nowhere… wtf??

Some days I want to scream at the memories to leave me alone and let me continue on with my life.

Oh, so the preliminary results (mostly just from her knowing the general average results, without any real scoring yet) have my verbal memory functioning at “seriously impaired”. She suggested that it’s likely due to the medical marijuana, but since it’s the only real thing that helps the ptsd, to keep taking it. Overall, the verbal memory impairment is less problematic than the impairment from the symptoms it treats… this might be the one time I agree with the phrase “the benefits outweigh the side effects”.


Stupidest things are triggering

They tested the presidential alert thing this afternoon… i wish there was a way to block those things, but apparently it’s “mandatory”.

The cheeto is already triggering enough, I don’t need him forcing his way into my life when I work so hard to block him out. There’s so safe place. There’s no way to block it out…

It’s like G when we were growing up; even if you ran to your room to hide, or tried agreeing to get him to shut up, he kept going. He’d barge in even through locked doors, and keep yelling. You were forced to listen. There was no quick and safe way out. It’s the same with these stupid alerts; there’s no escape.

I’m sitting here trying to calm myself down, to remind myself it’s not G, but it’s not working so well…

I wish I knew how to root my phone so I could block that stuff from coming through.


Dual

It’s so weird to feel so split, like two people have control of the same car at the same time.

Went to group for the first time in a while. I’m petty sure nothing triggering was talked about, but I was so spacey when I left. It felt like two people were vying for control at the same time. They were both paying attention to different things, and i felt so split. I had two trains of thought overlapping each other, two ideas of what we were doing next… like kids fighting for the best seat in the car, and pushing each other back and forth. I was tired, and wanting to close my eyes, but I was also driving and shopping, and going to a job thing and going home. My attention felt very seperate, but I recognized it as all my own. I was in the past, but also the present, and the future. It was all so jumbled, like watching two tv screens and paying equal attention to both (but neither getting full attention)…

I don’t think I was stressed, so I’m really not sure where that all came from…


Hi there.

Sorry I’m so sporadic these days.

I guess depression is hitting a bit hard (though I struggle to see it as depression…). Dr C called it that (the tiredness, the lack of desire to do anything much, the intense draining from any social interaction…).

Been also dealing with some physical stuff, which I’m sure is a manifestation of whatever it is I’m not processing at the moment (Dr C says grief and emotions related to everything that happened in 2017)… she tried to go there a bit more today, but my brain is like a sieve, or a dry-erase board. I try to think about it or talk about it or art about it, but then everything goes blank. There’s a lot of brain fog going on… There’s also been a weird tingling/numbness in my face when I wake up. It has taken much of the day to lessen these past few days. I’m also super exhausted. I wake up only to fall back asleep after 30 minutes or so of being awake. It’s that dizzy-tired that I’ve gotten in the past when I was awake for 30 hours straight, only I haven’t been. I’ve napped more in the past 3 days than I have all year. My muscles still ache, and they still tire faster than I’m used to. Vertigo comes back in waves. I have trouble concentrating. Sometimes it makes driving difficult, especially when I find myself tired and in a fog (I probably should have had my friend drive home from the beach on Friday, but I wasn’t aware enough at the time, and she didn’t mention it… thinking back, I was pretty close to driving off the road a few times; I wish she had said something, or been more insistent if she did).

I was telling Dr C that I would go to the doctor for this if 1) I had some hope of validation, but I’m pretty sure they will tell me everything comes back “normal”; and 2) I didn’t already owe almost $800 in medical bills from the last round of visits back in March… in pretty sure they will tell me they can’t see me until it’s paid…

I’ve been nauseas too lately, but the pot helps. I’m not looking forward to the cost of re-upping my licence in September, but it’s such a helpful med.

I feel like I’ve done nothing but complain about baseless physical symptoms for the better part of this year… and looking back at social media, the shortness of breath, muscle aches, and tiredness started at least 2 years ago (maybe more).

I really wish there was some sort of validation for all this. I feel like I’m making it all up for some unknown reason since all the testing comes back normal… I resonated with the Netflix movie Brain On Fire when the girl kept going to the doctor, and all her tests kept coming back ok. At one point, they were going to move her to a psych hospital because all the testing showed normal functioning, but her family insisted the doctors keep looking for an answer (she was incapacitated by that point, totally catatonic and unable to communicate). One doctor finally tried something, and they figured out she had an autoimmune thing. That was after 2 months of being catatonic… I don’t want to go through anything even remotely like that (my symptoms are different from her’s, but with an equally undetectable source)… it’s kinda scary to think about.

I know part of it is likely at least exacerbated by the unresolved psychological stuff, but I hesitate to say it’s 100% that…

I dunno.

Anyway, that’s part of why I’ve been quiet; I spend a bunch of time sleeping or zoning. It’s also difficult to string cohesive thoughts together sometimes. I start to write, then I forget what it was I was going to say (autocorrect doesn’t help either. I’ll go back and try to proof it another day, only to be totally stumped by what autocorrect substitutes).

I guess I should go to bed. My head feels like it might explode… the new a/c doesn’t have a thermostat, so it just keeps running, which really dries out the air, and makes my sinuses feel like I’m battling an infection, though there’s no congestion. At least if i go to bed, I can hide under my pillow… it’s also more humid in there b/c of the reptiles (yes, we sleep in the same room as the snakes & lizards)…

Anyway, yeah. Sorry for the pointless post. Hope to be back reading and writing more regularly sometime soon.

Pieces, Ang.


I guess whatever was stirred up last week, and later in session, is picking at other things outside of my awareness. I’ve been really cranky and short lately.

I had mentioned to Dr C that I could fill days talking about the stuff that comes up when we start to tackle the past. There’s no real feasible way to do that in person though (even in intensive settings, both the clinician and the client need time away from the heaviness). She suggested writing… I’m not a huge fan of physical books, as they are easy for anyone to pick up and read. We tossed around some ideas, and eventually settled on a mutually accessible file.

I voiced some reservations around it, mostly stemming from my experiences with both D and De around written communication. She was able to both hear my concerns, and address them in a way that made trying this again something I’m willing to do.

Anyway, I’ve not written much of anything yet, but the concept is ruffeling my internal feathers. Between my fears of it going sideways again, and worries about what might come up, I’m on edge. There’s still a lot of resistance to the concept, but there’s also a hope of moving forward too.

I dunno. We’ll see where it takes us.

In the mean time, I’m working on balancing myself and being aware of my reactions…


weird moment

A friend I don’t see often came over yesterday. We chatted and hung out. She was over for a few hours. We ate, caught up, then she left.

As L and I were picking up afterwards, I had the weirdest experience. It suddenly felt like I was rushing back from somewhere. The thought “oh! I missed her…” echoed in my head; not missing her like I wish we did it more often (though I do), but getting there too late to have had a chance to sit with her… I knew she had been there, but I wasn’t present for it, except that I had been there… it was like part of me that really wanted to see her didn’t get home in time.

Dissociation and compartmentalization is such a weird experience.


I feel like I’m watching the start of last year happen all over again, but this time to my cousin… her dog died quite suddenly earlier this year; her dad has been in the hospital for the better part of two months now, and he’s just been getting worse… I’m really hoping he pulls through…

I feel weird having so much emotion over this. We didn’t really have contact with them growing up (mostly because of my dad’s behavior and attitude and controlling ways). Add to that my dissociation, and I struggle to find much reason for connection… but it’s there. I feel more connected to my uncle (whom I’ve met maybe a handful of times) than to my dad…

I’m worried about him & my aunt & my cousins, and my mom. I want him to pull through, but it doesn’t sound good right now…

Can you send some positive healing vibes out into the universe for him? He could really use it…


jumbled, confusing, pre-verbal stuff

Some days, the sensations in my body make me want to rip my insides up so I could stop feeling them.

We talked a bit about memories and sensations and interpreting pre-verbal stuff. She said that sometimes the pre-verbal is all a jumbled mess, and sometimes it’s interpreted by what we can later connect to it, even if its not accurate to the moment.

I told her sometimes it feels like I’m one of those plastic dolls whose legs pop off if you twist them back enough… I know it can’t possibly be an accurate memory because I have both my legs still. She pointed out that it may have simply felt as if my legs would rip off, but I had no other reference for it at the time, so my brain made the connection to those toys, and kept it because it’s the “best explanation”…

We also talked about how there’s still this internal pressure/compulsion to talk about some of the flashbacks sometimes, but it tends to get caught up when I walk in to her building. I no longer have words for it, and the connection to it leaves, so I struggle to bring it up… We talked around that for a bit, and got a tiny bit in one direction, but then time was up.

Some days I wish I could bring her home with me in my pocket so I could pull her out and talk when the strong drive was present… it only still feels ok to talk when it’s almost impossible to do so. I guess there’s a measure of safety in the impossibility of it.


Endings suck…

…Even stupid, meaningless ones that shouldn’t suck as much as they do.

Like tv shows that let you escape yourself.

And fictional characters dying.

Because they tug at the old hurt of all the losses that came before, and were actually meaningful…

It compounds when more than one loss is piled on at the same time. Then suddenly everything else comes flooding back, and it sucks…

The stupid, meaningless losses take on all the hurt and emptiness the previous ones left you with…

At least Lucifer wrapped up the series well, almost as if they were planning on ending it this season. They could take it further, but this is a good stopping point. They gave is the closures we needed to be able to walk away from the show satisfied.

Scorpion, not so neatly wrapped…

Totally left without closure; Chris passing away Monday. She had gotten through so many health issues over the years, ones that were true miracles she recovered as well as she did… I guess her body finally gave out. I’m not even sure if it was the cardiac issues, the kidney issues, the cancer, or something else that finally took her. Before this week, she had beaten cancer, recovered from kidney failure, and was recovering from bypass surgery… she and L were friends for a quarter century (give or take a year or two). I had only met her after I stated dating L, but she was an amazing person. She is greatly missed.

… Then the older stuff picks up; L’s dad, Chow, ButtButt, K & T, Floppers, Twigs, Tigger, Dizzy, Sugar Cane, Almond Joy… De, Chrispy, LKB… All the endings that were sudden, painful, and unresolved.

It all gets rolled into a giant ball that feels choking and overwhelming.

This time of year seems to hold a disproportionate amount of those losses…

And then there’s July 7th (the anniversary of K’s death, and almost 14 years later, my first suicide attempt… there were only ever 2 thought-out attempts where it was a conscious choice. Anything else resembling one was an impulsive, desperate attempt to find some peace, but not necessarily an attempt at ending my life… I blame it on the meds. I’ve never done anything like that when I wasn’t spiraling out of control on psych meds. Even when I was ridiculously depressed, I never gave in to the impulse when not on psychotropics. They work wonders for some people, but I am not one of them)…

Back to the original point of this post: grief sucks. Losses suck. Especially when the biggest, earliest ones were never resolved…


More on feeling defective…

Despite all my labwork that insists I’m ridiculously normal, my brain certainly doesn’t feel it.

I went to physical therapy today because I tweaked my back a few weeks ago, and my range of motion since then has sucked. Specifically, I have trouble lifting my left leg over the dog gate. I go over with my right, and kinda just drag my left over after me…

Anyway, I remembered why it was I failed so miserably at pt last round; it sparks intrusive memories I’d rather not have.

I’m supposed to go back on Monday, but I think I will cancel.

Even if it doesn’t trigger full-on flashbacks, it does trigger anxiety and dissociation. The longer the pt goes on, the worse it all gets, and soon I can’t remember what we did, and what I’m supposed to do between sessions. It’s a waste of time and resources that I know could be used by others (they book 2 weeks out on a good week)…

So, yeah. I’m going to cancel. I’ll do the exercises she gave me today, then try to remember to start planking to help build my core strength up again.

And maybe I’ll mention it to Dr C, and we can work more on the body stuff so maybe if I ever need pt again for my back I’ll be able to follow through…


Learning my new limits

As much as this muscular stuff has been getting better, it’s still here. I’m able to do more and function better, but I’m still bumping into my new limits on a regular basis.

Yesterday, we cleaned the apartment (it desperately needed it). We both took it slow, but both did quite a bit. By yesterday evening, I was feeling the effects.

I found I get pressure headaches from changing position often (bending and crouching to clean under furniture, or to move things around). This morning, I noticed it’s helped a bit if I put slight pressure at the base of my neck, pushing upwards.

My muscles are also cramping again. They are sore and tense.

So what am I doing today? Being stubborn and getting laundry done.

I’m sure I’ll be a lump for the rest of the day. Heck, I’d love to be a lump right now, “but I have shit to do, and an appointment on [Thursday]…” (ani difranco).

I finally managed to get to the lab on Monday at the proper time for them to send out my bloodwork for the specialized test the neurologist ordered. I also got a chance to look at the name of the test so I could look up more info about it; MuSK. I can’t remember exactly what it is, but it’s looking for specific antibodies that interfere with something or other, that then causes muscles to tire faster. (Great explanation, I know. But I just skimmed the info while at the lab, and can’t remember details right now). Anyway… yeah. It’s looking for indications of a disease called myesthesis gravis? Maybe that’s what it’s called? I dunno. Again, memory on specifics is sketchy, and I’m being lazy about looking it up.

So yeah, waiting on those results. I’m not sure if I should hope it’s that, or hope it’s still all just related to the OSDD. It would be nice to have some definitive answers, and a course of treatment (though there’s apparently no cure)…

Back to the grind now. Laundry will need to be folded, and then I’m back home for a few before jetting off to pick L up from work…


family

I think that word has very different meanings for me.

We were always taught separation. My dad’s blood family was all that mattered to him, so that’s all he acknowledged. Everyone else was just “shit”. He didn’t promote contact with anyone outside his immediate family of origin (foo). We were isolated from almost everyone else, and even within his own foo, bitch was top, then him, then grandma, then K. Mom factored very little. K’s husband, T factored very little. Moms family was just unheard of (he made sure of that). We talked a bit about them and to them, but overall, they were essentially non-existent (in his eyes anyway).

I’ve only recently (like maybe the last decade or so) gotten in somewhat more regular contact with one of my cousins. We chat online a bit, but I think I’ve only seen her maybe 6 times my entire life (and we lived relatively close, like maybe a 4 hour drive, for several years). I’ve seen her parents a few more times, but that was only after she & her siblings had grown up and moved out… even then, I think I can count less than a dozen times.

Tonight, my mom informed me that her brother (my cousins’ father, my uncle) had gone to the hospital for a head injury. Apparently, this happened sometime last week, and no one thought to tell us (at least my brother and I. Mom may have known, but she’s not big on communicating stuff like that about/with anyone).

When I found out, it hit me just how disconnected I am from my extended family; I have no real emotions around him being in seriously ill health… I’m not even all that connected to any emotions my mom may have around it (though she’s never been big on emotions either. None of my family has).

I feel like it’s wrong somehow, like society is generally connected with their families unless there’s been some big rupture. The only rupture was my father. I should be connected with my aunt & uncle & cousins, but I’m not… and I think I’m a bit resentful about it.

I see L with her family (it’s a HUGE family), and I feel like we got the short end of the stick.

My dad made enormous effort to keep us isolated from everyone.

It sucks.

So now I have no real connection to family. I get the concept that we have an extended family, but… it’s just not in my radar for the most part. And I’m mad.

His isolation enabled the abuses that happened night after night. His anger resulted in a fear of reaching out, or attempting to connect with anyone (after all, any connection would be promptly severed once found out). We weren’t allowed to care for anyone outside the little dysfunctional circle that happened to include his foo…

The dissociation doesn’t help any. I feel like I’m just floating in a world where I don’t belong (or even truly exist). People have no clue about so much of my life. Everyone’s merely an acquaintance. Aside of L (and as of today, our friend DO), no one knows I have a dissociative disorder. At most, they’ve been told I have ptsd, but no one knows what it’s from; they assume I served in the military…

Most everyone in my life sees this shell, this act. They might notice I hit some bumps along the way, but mostly, I’m either shy and awkward (99% of the time), or chatty and awkward. I’m the crazy animal lady with the pet snakes, who also does art here and there…

I feel like I don’t actually exist. I must just be a ghost floating around.

I never expect people to remember me from one meeting to the next, or care about anything about me. I’m the awkward tag-along friend you invite because you feel sorry for them. I’m the wife you tolerate because we come as a package deal. I’m really not sure why L married me. I’m just the awkward one tagging along behind her to family functions. I don’t deserve to be there, nor am I really wanted there, but I’m crashing the party…

I shouldn’t be here still. I have no purpose or usefulness… but here I am, tagging along in this weird body that feels like a poorly-fitting borrowed dress. If I think hard enough about it, I can kinda find some connection to the C they think they’re supposed to get, but… I dunno. It just feels like a suit, like pretend. That girl who graduated college? Not me. The one who had a career? Not me. The one with friends and family? Not me.

I’m just that shadow in the corner… nothing to notice or want to be around; no substance, no presence, no worth…


Was that real?

I had originally started writing this blog to give myself something I could easily look back on when I found I had lost touch with various things in my life.

I’m often reading and rereading my posts in an effort to connect to them (and maybe memorize what I talked about?). There’s so much I forget from one moment to the next.

I now understand the forgetting to be a function of my most persistent and pervasive coping skill: dissociation. It’s taken me a long time to remember that understanding. Much like my continued shock and confusion around my extreme level of dissociation, I find myself “realizing” that I forget so much because I dissociate so often.

Much of the time, I find myself reading my posts as if I were reading someone else’s writing for the first time. It’s quite a surreal experience. I’ll recognize bits and pieces, but it still predominantly feels like someone else’s stories.

Its happened again this week. I found myself bopping around from post to post, taking it in as if for the first time. I recognize the people I’m referring to, but not the content of the posts. I wish I could come up with a “good enough” analogy to convey what it’s like… I’m not sure there is one. Maybe the closest I can come is comparing it to reading a creatively penned biography about yourself. The author has taken licence and added to the story you know your life to be, and has found others to corroborate their embellishments… it all feels like an aggrandized version of my life, with a lot of Hollywood “extra spice” thrown in… Maybe akin to reading the tabloid stories about yourself while at the checkout. It feels foreign.

I was telling A how my education and professional history was in mental health, but even as the words left my mouth, they felt like a lie. How in the world could I have done any of that? Sure, I have a decent understanding of basic psychology, but I also have a descent understanding of basic anatomy & phys, of animal behavior, of art techniques… most of those I picked up simply by reading because it was interesting. If I didn’t have my paperwork from school, and people who corroborate that I went to grad classes with them, I doubt I’d believe that it were possible.

I feel miles and miles away from that competant human being.

If I didn’t still have contact with the people I used to work with in the field, I would say my work history was made up… even my recent work in the kennels feels contrived (yet I have pictures to prove I was there).

Who the fuck dissociates so badly that they don’t remember so much of their life?!

It feels lately like all my memories are up in the air & uncertain like the trauma memories.

If I sit down and concentrate hard enough, I can pull together what I think is an ok narrative of a specific time in my life, but it feels like a rehearsed skit. To paraphrase an Ani Difranco song “I feel like an actor just reading my lines…” Its something I’ve practiced over and over again until I can recite it with confidence, even if I have no connection to it.

I’m going through life without actually connecting to any of it.

There are times I feel like an imposter; like a clone with implanted memories, but they forgot to include the emotion portion of it…

When I was reading posts from even last year, I found myself trying to analyze what I was reading, to figure out what parts could possibly be true, and figure out how to integrate it into the current narrative.

Part of me feels like I have written about this before, or at least talked to someone about it, but I’m not sure who or where…

There was a flicker of understanding a moment ago, but it’s gone now. My fingers weren’t fast enough to catch the thought on paper before it slid away again.

I’m slipping away again. I can feel things erasing from my awareness (like what I was writing about in the rest of this post). A fog is settling in.

Gotta love dissociation for no reason…


update on Neuro appointment

I had an appointment with the neurologist yesterday morning. He took history, did a Neuro exam, and did some nerve testing on my arm. I have to go back tomorrow morning for the same testing on my legs… I’m kinda anxious about the testing on my leg. It’s not really painful or scary, but I expect it to be triggering. He’ll use mild electric current and sensors to test nerve conduction (there’s also a needle part, but I’m trying not to think about that).

There are two potentially triggering times; 1) if he tests nerves above the knee (I’m thinking about insisting that the testing remain below the knee. I don’t really care if it doesn’t yield complete results. My goal is to avoid flashbacks and panic while he’s got needles stuck in my muscles). 2) later tomorrow night when the points he tested are sore and cramping. With my arm, it felt like someone was pushing their thumb into my arm at those spots. It was uncomfortable, but I could talk myself out of panic because it was just my arm. I’m not confident I’d be able to do that if I felt the same on my thigh. I don’t really think the leg test will show any results different from my arms, so there’s no need to risk a flood of triggers and flashbacks, especially with Dr C still on vacation for 2 more weeks. I know I could talk to her fill-in about it, but that would only come after a weekend of dealing with it… I’m not really up for that right now.

Is that a stupid choice in terms of diagnosis? I dunno. So far, everything’s come back normal except for the d-dimer test. If nerves in my arms aren’t damaged, there’s little likelihood nerves in my leg are. After all, my arms often hurt more than my legs, and I’ve not experienced the same weakness with them. So, yeah. I think I’ve decided to insist that he keep the testing below the knee.

He’s also ordering a special blood test, though I forgot to ask what he’s testing (will do that tomorrow).

I’m not really much closer to answers at this point. It’s still very frustrating.

L and I took the dogs out to a park today. It was really nice to get out, and I pushed myself physically because I’m stubborn and I really miss being in nature. We sat or rested 2/3 of the time (much to the dogs’ frustrations), but it was nice. I’m now paying the price for my stubbornness. My muscles are complaining (weak, tense, painful), and I’m super fatigued. I’ve even gone back to taking pot several times since the outing because of the pain… on the plus side, while I still had a lot of trouble breathing, it wasn’t nearly as bad as 2 weeks ago. The inhaler helped some. The Advil helped some. The pot helped some… and I was able to catch my breath about an hour after getting home. Not bad considering it would have taken more than twice that long even last week.

Anyway. I guess I just needed to write out my reasoning for limiting the testing he will do tomorrow. I know it might sound stupid to some, but… flashbacks suck.

Here’s hoping something brings definitive answers.